Joe Feddersen: Vital Signs

University of Washington Press and Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University (2008)
Dobkins, Rebecca, Barbara Earl Thomas, and Gail Tremblay, 2008


Vital signs, the pulses and patterns of the body, are indicators of essential life functions. The powerful work of Joe Feddersen reveals, like vital signs themselves, the state of the human condition from the vantage point of a contemporary artist who has inherited an ancient aesthetic tradition.


Arising from Plateau Indian iconographic interpretations of the human-environment relationship, Feddersen's prints, weavings, and glass sculptures explore the interrelationships between contemporary urban place markers and indigenous design. Following in the footsteps of his Plateau Indian ancestors who "spoke to the land in the patterns of the baskets," Feddersen interprets the urbanscapes and the landscapes surrounding him and transforms those rhythms into art forms that are both coolly modern and warmly expressionistic.


About the Authors: 

Rebecca J. Dobkins is a curator at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art and associate professor of anthropology at Willamette University, Salem, Oregon. Barbara Earl Thomas is a painter and writer living in Seattle. Gail Tremblay is a member of the faculty of the Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington.


"The Hallie Ford Museum of Art is pleased to present Joe Feddersen: Vital Signs. Intended to accompany an exhibition of the same name, the book chronicles the life and art of this highly regarded Native American artist whose work explores the intererelationships between urban place markers and indigenous landscapes. A printmaker, basket maker, and glass artist of tremendous skill and prowess, Feddersen combines contemporary materials with Native iconography to create powerful and evocative works." -John Olbrantz, Maribeth Collins Director of the Hallie Ford Museum of Art


Table of Contents

  • John Olbrantz, “Preface”

  • Barbara Earl Thomas, “Introduction”

  • Rebecca J. Dobkins, “Joe Feddersen: Pulses and Patterns”

  • Gail Tremblay, “Speaking in a Language of Vital Signs”

  • Plates

  • Artist History

  • Selected Bibliography

  • Glossary of Printmaking Terms



127 pages